View Single Post
02-12-2011, 08:40 PM
BillyShoe1721's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Country: United States
Posts: 17,249
vCash: 50
Send a message via AIM to BillyShoe1721
With their next selection, the Philadelphia Firebirds are happy to select a goalie some believe was better than Tretiak, an underrated goaltender, Jiri Holecek.

5x Best Goalie at World Championships(all time record among goalies, tied for most among all players with Fetisov)
5x World Championships All Star Team(most among all goaltenders)
3x World Championships Gold Medalist
1x Golden Hockey Stick Award Winner for best player in Czechoslovakia
6x Ceske Budejovice Champion
1x Olympic Silver Medalist
1x Olympic Bronze Medalist
IIHF Hockey Hall of Fame Member

JIRI HOLECEK (2) is easily one of the most accomplished goaltenders in the history of international hockey. Holecek captured three titles ('72, '76, '77) at the annual IIHF World Championships for Czechoslovakia and was chosen to the media All-Star team five times ('71, '72, '73, '76, '78).

Forty-seven shots in all Suomi fired at their opponent’s goal. Unfortunately for the Finns, standing in front of the Czechoslovak net was none other than JIRI HOLECEK. The 31-year-old veteran international was already a three-time winner (’71, ‘73, ‘75) of the IIHF Directorate’s award for Best Goalie at the annual World Championships. Xxx was the only Finn who would manage to put a puck past the Sparta Prague goaltender.

Holecek handled the other 46 shots effectively...

Holecek handed in a clean sheet for Czechoslovakia’s next match, a 5-0 defeat of the United States, to follow up. That would turn out to be the only shutout registered by any of the six teams in the final round-robin at the 1976 Winter Olympic Games.

“Holecek is the best goalie in the world – better than (Vladislav) Tretiak, (Ken) Dryden or (Bernie) Parent.” — BOBBY HULL at the 1976 Canada Cup

One of the best elite goalies in world hockey history. One of the living legends of Czech hockey. Was exceptionally reliable, well prepared mentally and technically for any game he had to play.

But many consider him being a better goaltender than Tretiak. In his homeland (Czech Republic) Holecek was called "Kouzelnik" (The Magician), for his acrobatic style of play. He was equally good and fast with his blocker as he was with his glove hand. He also had very quick feet and tried to emulate the style of his childhood idol, xxx. Another strength was that Holecek always used to be cool under pressure. Many say that if Holecek had got the same exposure as Tretiak did when he faced the NHLers then he would be regarded as the best European goalie ever.

Holecek was born on March 18, 1944 in Prague. He started playing as a little kid on a pond at Zizkov in Prague. Then in 1956 he played for Tatra Smichov as a forward. As a 13-year old he became a goalie just by coincidence when he failed to make the Bohemians Prague team in 1957-58 as a forward. He found out that the rival club Slavia Prague was looking for a goaltender. So Holecek tried out as a goalie and made the team. He played there until 1963 before he was picked up by the Slovakian club Dukla Kosice (1963-67) / VSZ Kosice (1967-73).

In 1973 he returned to Prague where he played for Sparta Prague between 1973-78. He played a total of 488 games in the league and won the "Golden Stick" award as the player of the year in 1974. After his domestic career was over he went on to play in Germany for EHC Münich 70 (1978-80) and then EHC Essen (1980-81).

On the national team Holecek represented Czechoslovakia 164 times (a record for Czech goalies). He was a three time World Champion (1972, 1976 and 1977). Holecek was voted as the best goalie five times (1971, 1973, 1975, 1976 and 19 78) , more than any other goaltender. He was also a five time All-Star.

Holecek always played at his best when he faced the Soviets.

"I loved to play against them because our team didn't have anything to lose in those games. Everybody expected us to lose and if we won we became national heroes. I usually liked to skate out a bit to face the shooters but against them I stood on the goal line. Trying to skate out of your crease to cut the angles against the Russians would have been suicide" Holecek said.

He also never considered Tretiak to be one of the greatest goalies.

"No, Tretiak wasn't anything special. We had at least ten goalies back home who were better than him and the same goes for Sweden. The Russians had such a good team that it wasn't very hard to be in goal for them."

Holecek was a "ghost" for many opponents and must be regarded as one of the three best goalies ever in European hockey history.

The credit for this was also one of the best goalies in the history of Czechoslovak hockey Jiri Holecek

Jiri Holecek was their key player, turning aside 46 shots in a 2-1 win over Finland followed by the tournament's only shutout

Jiri Holecek, former star goalie for Czechoslovakia...

Czech legend Jiri Holecek...

xxx tallied in the first and third periods for Czechoslovakia, whose goalie, Jiri Holecek was brilliant.

The goaltending of xxx and Jiri Holecek was brilliant.

In the scoreless third period, the Soviets repeatedly sailed into the Czech zone, only to be stymied by Jiri Holecek.

Jiri Holecek played yet another heroic game in the Czechslovak goal...

Czech goalie Jiri Holecek, brilliant throughout the afternoon, led an unrelenting defense that continually denied the Americans' offense.

Czech aces in goalie Jiri Holecek and xxx...

The Czechs opened up a 2-0 lead in the first period as goaltender Jiri Holecek made several brilliant saves.

...the peerless goalie Jiri Holecek...

Last edited by BillyShoe1721: 02-12-2011 at 10:13 PM.
BillyShoe1721 is offline